The actors portraying the terror aboard an airliner hijacked to Lebanon sometimes used jokes to get through the tense, emotional scenes, says Lindsay Wagner, who stars as courageous flight attendant Uli Derickson.

"There are moments of humor," said Wagner of the NBC movie, The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story (8 p.m., Ch. 2). "It was the only way to survive aboard the plane. And when we did the heavy scenes, we'd break up trying to get through it. The emotions would become so overpowering you had to have relief."To an extent, she said, that was also one way the real-life hostages aboard the TWA jet coped with fear after two terrorists seized the plane June 17, 1985, on a flight from Athens to Rome.

Most of the movie was filmed in a mockup of the airplane's cabin, a small and cramped space.